Before I could try Botox, my health insurance — Cigna — required me to try and fail at least two other meds. I tried tricyclic antidepressants, which made me groggy and turned my brain into molasses, and beta blockers, a class of drugs used for high blood pressure and heart problems. (All treatments to prevent migraines are borrowed from other conditions, except a new class of drugs that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration.) The beta blockers worked for a few months: they slightly reduced the number of migraines and made the headaches more bearable. But late last year, the migraines became chronic again — I had more than 15 in a month. That’s when my neurologist said: “I think it’s time to try Botox.”
A placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized post-approval 52 week study (Study NDO-3) was conducted in MS patients with urinary incontinence due to neurogenic detrusor overactivity who were not adequately managed with at least one anticholinergic agent and not catheterizing at baseline. These patients were randomized to receive either 100 Units of BOTOX (n=66) or placebo (n=78).
Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, says that step therapy is driven by a single motivator: saving costs. Hoffman, who’s written about the legal and ethical implications of step therapy, says that sometimes step therapy can have sensible outcomes, like pushing patients to take generics instead of brand-name drugs. But these policies can also keep doctors from prescribing the more expensive drugs of choice, forcing patients to take medications that are less effective or have worse side effects.
So people told me I looked tired, overlooking the grape-size purple bruise smack dab in the center of my forehead. As one RealSelf reviewer wrote: “My head feels too tight, my eyebrow position has dropped enough to lose my nice pretty arch and my eyelids seem hooded. My eyes look smaller.” Now, if it works, looking a bit tired is a small price to pay for a few more days each month of migraine freedom and function. And bruises can be covered with makeup.
I always tell my patients that you get what you pay for. However, you need to advocate for yourself and understand what you are getting for your dollars. Ensure that your injector is experienced and properly trained; that you are getting FDA approved Botox Cosmetic from Allergan; and know how many units you receive. As well, a physician's office should maintain a medical record of your treatments so you can optimize and customize your Botox to achieve the best effect and value. Good Luck!
Preventative Botox has been getting lots of buzz. “It can potentially have a preventive effect on dynamic wrinkles, which are caused by underlying muscle movement,” Shah explains. “That being said, muscle movement is only one factor that contributes to the development of wrinkles, so Botox may not be completely preventive.” (Some other wrinkle causes: sun exposure, smoking, and diet.)
In 1998, David E.I. Pyott became CEO of Allergan. He was enthusiastic about Botox's wrinkle-reducing potential, he says, and pushed the company to conduct a series of studies on the matter. In 2002, Botox earned FDA approval for so-called frown lines--wrinkles between eyebrows--marking the first time a pharmaceutical drug was given the green light for a strictly cosmetic purpose. In 2001, the year before Botox was approved for wrinkles, it generated about $310 million in sales. By 2013, the year it was approved for overactive bladder, Allergan reported nearly $2 billion in revenue from Botox.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you: have or have had bleeding problems; have plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face; weakness of forehead muscles; trouble raising your eyebrows; drooping eyelids; any other abnormal facial change; are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if BOTOX® can harm your unborn baby); are breastfeeding or plan to (it is not known if BOTOX® passes into breast milk).
Botox has also been shown to prevent chronic migraines, but there, it's unclear exactly why Botox works. (For doctors, reaching a firm understanding of how Botox prevents migraines will be tricky, since they don't know for certain what causes the severe headaches in the first place.) "There were multiple clinical trials for migraines, and most of them failed," says Dr. Mitchell Brin, senior vice president of drug development at Allergan and chief scientific officer for Botox. "It took a long time to figure out where to inject and how much." Today people who receive Botox for migraine prevention get 31 injections in different spots on their head and neck. The effects of Botox can last about three to six months depending on the condition.
Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, and trouble swallowing.